Gstaad, Switzerland, July 7, 2016 - The third of six days of Beach Volleyball competition at the US$800,000 Gstaad Major will feature a 48-match schedule on five courts in the Swiss Alps village as 15 pairs headed for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will begin competing in the FIVB World Tour event.
With only two of the top 17 Olympic qualifiers missing, the men’s competition will begin with the first of two days of pool play with the focus on the top group where three Copacabana prospects will be fighting for the top spot that rewards the winner with a “bye” in the first round of elimination.
While the men are playing two rounds of pools play, the women will complete group activities with 16 matches where 16 Rio Olympic pairs are participating. The 17th annual event in Gstaad concludes Saturday for women with the “final four” matches and Sunday for men where the semi-finals and medals contests will be played on the center court. The winning teams share the $57,000 first-place prize in the third of five SWATCH Majors Series events on the 2015-2016 FIVB World Tour calendar.
With top-seeded and reigning FIVB world champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt headlining Pool A in the men’s competition, the Brazilians will be challenged for the group title by 16th-seeded Adriana Carambula/Alex Ranghieri of Italy and 17th-seeded Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel of Poland.
The same three teams also competed in the same Pool A last week at the Porec Major where Alison and Bruno won the Croatian gold medal by defeating Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst of Austria in the three-set gold medal match. In pool play, the Brazilians lost to Fijalek and Prudel and defeated Carambula and Ranghieri. Overall, Alison and Bruno have a 5-0 FIVB match mark against the Italians and deadlocked at 2-2 with Fijalek and Prudel.
Pool B will also have a matchup from last week’s group makeup with North American rivals as second-seeded Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena of the United States again playing in the same four-team cluster with Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen of Mexico. The Americans lost to Ontiveros and Virgen to deadlock the FIVB series between the two teams at 1-1.
Here is a list of the Olympic-bound teams in the other six Gstaad Major groups. The top three-teams in each group advance to the 24-team elimination bracket with the winner netting the coveted first-round “bye”.
Pool C - Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen, Netherlands
Pool D - Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk, Canada; Markus Bockermann/Lars Fluggen, Germany
Pool E - Jake Gibb/Casey Patterson, United States; Reinder Nummerdor/Christiaan Varenhorst, Netherlands
Pool F - Aleksandrs Samoilovs/Janis Smedins, Latvia; Evandro Goncalves/Pedro Solberg, Brazil
Pool G - Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera, Spain; Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst, Austria
Pool H - Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, Italy